If you’ve been here a while, you know that I like to talk about the hard stuff like the negative feelings that go along with parenting. None of us can be perfect parents. But, how do you deal with those moments when you feel like you absolutely hate being a parent? Despite what you see on social media, we’ve all been there.
Having negative emotions is totally normal and expected. The stages of parenting that don’t get talked about in your parenting book are the ones that are not so popular. Like, when the kid learns to say I hate you, or when they have a lying problem, or when the teenager is being rebellious.
There are plenty of intense feelings that come along with parenting, and although we know it’s a good life, it can still be kind of the worst, sometimes. So you’re hating being a parent? Welcome to the club. You’re not alone.
Why Am I Feeling This Way?
Understanding why you feel this way is a crucial step in managing it. Only you can dig deep and know if it’s because you’re missing your old life, lack of sleep, or you have real postpartum depression.
Then there are the things that we ALL go through – parental burnout and resentment.
Perhaps what it boils down to is feeling overwhelmed, underappreciated, and like you’ve lost a part of yourself in the process.
It’s like your life is a book, and the pages are all about your kids, leaving no room for your interests, hobbies, or sanity. Whether you’re a parent for the first time, a stay-at-home mom, a single mom, or have a family member to help, remember – parenting is hard work no matter what.
And most parents are good parents. Even if they don’t like parenting once in a while.
Remember, It’s Okay to Feel This Way
Let’s make one thing crystal clear: it’s perfectly normal to have moments of frustration and even resentment. It doesn’t make you a bad parent. In fact, acknowledging these feelings makes you self-aware.
We’re human, not parenting robots.
Our emotions are complex, and parenting can stir up a whole pot of them. So, if you’re reading this and thinking, “Yep, that’s me,” remember that you’re doing great by even acknowledging your feelings.
Give yourself some time to sit with them too. You have less freedom now that you’re a parent. Once you stepped into that new role, the life as you knew it was over. That’s something that can feel suffocating and depressing for a lot of people.
Learning to sit with this new realization that your old life is long gone and giving yourself time to grieve what you left behind is a great way to move into acceptance of your new life.
Yes, it’s a lot of work, and there’s a good chance that you’ll have days now and then when you still get frustrated and resent being a parent, but if you take the time to grieve the loss of your old life, there’s a better chance you’ll be able to find more of the beautiful things that are now part of your life now that you’ve become a parent.
Self-Care Is Not a Buzzword; It’s a Lifeline
In my book, The Mother Load, I talk a whole lot about the importance of self-care and how to make it happen in real life. It’s not just a buzz word though.
Lack of self-care is a common reason why happy parents start to feel like a bad mom or dad when before that, they were feeling OK about things.
Imagine working a job where you never felt appreciated, and never got to have a lunch break or go to the bathroom. That would make you feel burned out and you’d likely start looking for a new job immediately.
Parenting is no different. Self-care is like the golden ticket to coping with those “I hate being a parent” moments.
Chances are, you’re hating being a parent because you don’t have time to give yourself a damn break.
And before you think you don’t have time or money for self-care, that’s what I talk about in my book.
It’s not about spa days and expensive vacations (although those are lovely if you can swing them). Self-care can be simple moments you carve out in your day that refuel you and make you feel whole. It’s about carving out those moments in your day for you, the person who existed before kids.
I know it’s been a long time, but do you remember her? She’s still in there, I promise.
Mental Health Matters, and So Do You
Your mental well-being is as crucial as your child’s health. So, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help if you’re struggling with persistent feelings of hating being a parent.
A therapist is so nice, but even support groups, a trusted friend, or supportive families can be a lifeline during a hard time. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help. Professional support can let you know that you’re not alone in this parenting journey, and that others have navigated these stormy seas before you.
But, finding friends and creating social circles of other parents that get it can create an environment where you help each other out and support one another. This can be online or in person, too. It really doesn’t matter.
What matters is taking care of your mental health. That’s the ultimate form of self-care. Make sure you have enough love for yourself as you do that little person in your life.
Then, take care of you.
Take time to get some perspective too.
I loathe it when people tell me to think more positively, or to stop being negative. No. We’re allowed to feel these negative emotions too!
But, sometimes spending a moment when you’re down to remember what it was like to be child free might help. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking of how much time you got to spend with your best friend, and all the freedom you had to take naps, travel, and shower as long as you wanted. I know. I know. Life was good back then.
But, take a minute to imagine your life without your kid’s arms wrapped around your neck, or the moment your first child was placed in your arms. Imagine missing out on hearing the words, “I love you.” for the first time.
These years with young children at home are so damn hard, but if you’re anything like me, you know that they are some of the best. And as much as you hate to admit it – you will miss it one day.
Parenting is a journey, not a destination. You might hate it today, but tomorrow, you could be overwhelmed with love and joy as you watch your child achieve something new.
That’s just the way it works. It feels like a damn roller coaster that you can’t get off of, but one day, you’ll find that deep sense of purpose and realize that watching these beautiful humans grow up is one of the greatest gifts.
But, don’t worry – you don’t have to be there right now.
Right now, you’re allowed to slow down.
And understand that it’s normal to go through moments of hating being a parent. The perspective will come eventually. It doesn’t have to be today. But remember, slowing down and giving yourself time to reflect can sometimes be just what you need to go back to the full-time job that is parenting.
You’ve Got This
When you find yourself in the depths of “I hate being a parent,” take a step back, breathe, and remember that it’s okay.
Embrace those feelings, seek support, practice self-care, and remember the power of perspective. It really is okay to dislike parts of parenting.
You are a human being and parenting is a lot of pressure.
We all go through similar feelings but we are still great parents. Remember to find your sense of self in all the mess.
Remember to love the person you’re becoming through all of this.
Remember your emotional wellbeing is important, and sometimes that looks like having a total shit day, wallowing in mom guilt for a minute, then picking yourself up and working hard to give yourself the childhood you never had.
You’re ok, mama. Even if you hate being a parent today.